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The Literature Workshop

Haug, UTL 640E

Junior English III
16 November 2015

Literature Workshop Group

Adrian, Kellie, Olivia, Courtney
Thomas, Eric, Kyle, Kendall

Enduring Understanding(s) & Essential Question(s):

Enduring Understanding:
The ability to meaningfully interpret text and produce written work that addresses and explains
that interpretation can be learned through certain instructional strategies.
Essential Questions:
Factual 1) What is the definition of interpretation?
2) What does an instructional strategy mean?
3) What constitutes a text?


Conceptual What is a meaningful interpretation?

Does an academic interpretation supercede a personal interpretation? Why, or why not?
What is purpose of discussing multiple interpretations?
What is the purpose of studying literature?
Whats the distinction between a misreading and a reading that diverges from the accepted
realm of meaning?
What is the distinction between a valuable reading and an authoritative reading?
How do teachers balance the double bind Blau discusses, i.e. encouraging students to
generate their own interpretations while satisfying their want for answers?
How do we help students develop the three main literacies Blau discusses: textual, intertextual,
and performative?

Philosophical 1) Does studying literature enhance peoples lives?

Lesson Objective(s):
(Part one and Part two combined)
After summarizing chapters two through six of Sheridan Blaus The Literature Workshop,
students will participate in a reading workshop. The reading workshop will consist of students
reading the poem (My Papas Waltz) three times: first for a general reading, second to write
down lines or sections they understood, and third identify lines or sections they did not
understand. Students will then discuss their findings in small groups and later share in a
discussion with the whole class; then, after summarizing chapters seven through ten, students
will participate in a class-wide discussion of the ideas presented, which will be guided by our
instructors and designed around reaching a conclusion about the book/its approach as a whole.

A. TO DO before the day of the lesson:
- Review all chapters of The Literature Workshop, focusing on the specific chapters that well be
teaching in our pairs
- Find a poem that would work best in both sections of the lesson
- Create Google slides of chapters that highlight the main points
- Coordinate with group members and make sure Google slides have coherency
B. For the lesson itself:
- Bring computer for Google slides and presentation
- Make copies of My Papas Waltz
- Extra paper for the writing workshop in case people dont have any
- Create an example of the reading and writing workshop lessons

TEKS/SEs Addressed in the Lesson:

English III TEKS
(3) Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Poetry. Students understand, make inferences and
draw conclusions about the structure and elements of poetry and provide evidence from text to
support their understanding. Students are expected to analyze the effects of metrics, rhyme
schemes (e.g., end, internal, slant, eye), and other conventions in American poetry.
(13) Writing/Writing Process. Students use elements of the writing process (planning, drafting,
revising, editing, and publishing) to compose text. Students are expected to:
(B) structure ideas in a sustained and persuasive way (e.g., using outlines, note taking,
graphic organizers, lists) and develop drafts in timed and open-ended situations that
include transitions and rhetorical devices to convey meaning;
(24) Listening and Speaking/Listening. Students will use comprehension skills to listen
attentively to others in formal and informal settings. Students will continue to apply earlier
standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to:
(A) listen responsively to a speaker by framing inquiries that reflect an understanding of
the content and by identifying the positions taken and the evidence in support of those
(26) Listening and Speaking/Teamwork. Students work productively with others in teams.
Students will continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected
to participate productively in teams, offering ideas or judgments that are purposeful in moving
the team towards goals, asking relevant and insightful questions, tolerating a range of positions
and ambiguity in decision-making, and evaluating the work of the group based on agreed-upon

Steps in Lesson:
Estimated time of lesson: 105-107 minutes
ENGAGEMENT( 3 minutes)

Put up Garth Brooks, That Summer on Google slides. Explain the two very different
As English teachers, we have to grapple with varying interpretations of literary works from our
students and guide them in a direction of interpretation without delving into transmission. Today,
youre going to look at a poem individually and then as a class to understand one approach to
handle varying interpretations in a classroom.
ACTIVE LEARNING (- 102 minutes)
Introduce: (13 minutes)
(6 minutes) Kellie and Adrian will go through their slides introducing the definition of a literature
workshop along with a summary of chapters 3 and 4 of The Literature Workshop.
What is a literature workshop?
Posing of genuine questions (individually or as a group) regarding a text that students come
across during discourse or study.
Students monitor their experience investigating that question
Reflection through discussion or writing about the question / problems and how they were
- Chapter 3: Which Interpretation Is the Right One?
- Explanation of two common myths:
- Only one authoritative interpretation; one right interpretation
- There is no single right interpretation therefore all interpretations have
equal authority
How to resolve competing interpretations
- Persona / Identity / Biographical Information
- Teachers history
- Sources of interpretative authority
- Literary study
- Chapter 4: The Problem of Background Knowledge
- Definition of background knowledge
- How we use cultural knowledge to read
-Fill in the gaps
- Pretexts and prereading
- Literary confidence and respect
- Demystifying skilled reading
(5 minutes) Courtney and Olivia will go through their slides introducing strategies to implement
during a literature workshop, along with a summary of chapters 5 and 6 of The Literature
- Chapter 5: Where Do Interpretations Come From?
- Asking students to interpret:
- What does the story say/whats happening?
- Whats the moral/lesson v.s. whats hidden
- The problem:
- Essays encouraging mechanistic readings
- Students dont engage with texts

- Strategy: Students telling stories

- Students see they are experienced interpreters of stories
- Students see their interpretations didnt depend on lit. devices

- Chapter 6: Whats Worth Saying About a Literary Text?

- Strategies to introduce and explain:
- Rereading as a Reading Strategy
- Pointing and its Point
- Writing About a Line
Explain (3 minutes):
Kellie, Adrian, Olivia and Courtney will go through the Google slide with the instructions for the
Individually, read My Papas Waltz one time.
Read the poem again using the jump-in reading strategy
Next, students will:
participate in pointing activity
Identify lines youre struggling with
- Share in groups of three or four your findings
- Report out any conclusions
- Discuss various interpretations
Apply (26 minutes):
(5 minutes) Students read My Papas Waltz individually and jump-in style
(5 minutes) Discuss in groups of three or four
(5 minutes) Report out all interpretations
(11 minutes) Discuss as a group our interpretations of the poem
Evaluate (4 minutes):
Olivia, Courtney, Kellie and Adrian will discuss with the class whether or not as teachers, the
class found this workshop useful.
What worked in the workshop? What was unsuccessful? What would we change, if anything, in
our high school classrooms?
Introduce: (3 minutes)
Drawing from the PowerPoint, Thomas and Eric will respectively discuss pedagogical
approaches covered in chapters 7 and 8, respectively.
- Chapter 7: problems of writing assignments in literature classes
- Chapter 8: potential solutions (pedagogical approaches and practical assignments to use inclass)
Explain: (10 minutes)

Thomas will cover major issues Blau has found with formal writing assignments in academic
Students have trouble bridging the gap between informal and formal writing assignments
Writing process feels unnatural (in diction, structure, and voice) when writing essays
formulaic strategies (AP worksheet): do they help or hinder students writing process?

Eric will then cover a few practical solutions offered in chapter 8

Solution 2- Throwing out silly rules breaks down formula writing.
Solution 3- Reading process research report- Encourage students to engage in metacognition
with the process of reading
Solution 4- Interpretation project- Have students think about types of interpretations
Solution 5- Portfolio- Major course grade that focuses on the process of writing, rather than
attaching grades to individual writing assignments.
**Whatever assignment you decide to go with, the assignments need to have a purpose, needs
to be useful to the student, and both of these need to be made clear to the student.
Introduce/Explain (8 minutes)

Kendall will provide a summary of chapter 9: Honoring Readers and Respecting Texts
Key ideas from the chapter
Double bind for teachers (earned interpretations vs. teacher-dictated interpretation)
Misreadings are real (inattention, inexperience, ignorance)
Example: Death of the Ball Turret Gunner -- touches on all three causes
Syntactic complexity can contribute to misreadings (example of Paradise Lost)
Over-reading can be a problem too (too much experience looking for deep, hard-to-find
readings can result in someone missing the easy, more important meanings)
Cutting through the double bind
Get kids to trust in their own interpretations
Value/authority distinction
Multiple readings
Kyle will then briefly recap the content of the final chapter: What Do Students Need to Learn?
Key points in the chapter
Three main literacies: textual (procedural), intertextual (informational), performative (enabling)
Textual: Essentially close reading (interpreting, inferring)
Intertextual: Like Hirsch, but not, but still yeah
Performative: Capacity for sustained, focused attention; willingness to suspend closure;
willingness to take risk; tolerance for failure; tolerance for ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty;
intellectual generosity and fallibilism; and metacognitive awareness.
Engaging with literature on a deeper level isnt an innate skill
It recognizes that reading, like writing, is a process of text construction. It is not simple
absorption and there is no simple, direct transmission of knowledge or meaning from the author
to the reader.
Apply: (30 minutes)
After Thomas, Eric, Kendall, and Kyle go through their explanations, the class will have an
open-ended discussion, with key questions collectively posted on a single slide of the
Evaluate (7 minutes):
-(Part 2): There will not be a formal evaluation activity, but the discussion itself will serve as an
evaluation of their understanding to some extent.
-(Parts 1 and 2) Lesson Debriefing: Olivia, Adrian and Kendall will address any lingering
questions regarding the lesson from classmates.

CLOSURE( 1 minute) One to five. Ask class to raise their hands and in a scale of one to five
determine whether or not they found The Literature Workshop useful and if they would use
some of these strategies in their classrooms.

Modifications/Differentiation Strategies:
Modification strategies include following IEPs.
Differentiation strategies include appealing to:
- social and interpersonal learners through opportunities for oral communication during class
- visual learners through viewing a Google Slides presentation and a physical handout of a
- linguistic learners through reading the poem multiple times and analyzing the poem in the
literature workshop

Evaluation Strategies:
Students will be evaluated on:
- Active participation in class discussion on usefulness of literature workshops
- Informal evaluation of discussion of poem
- Completion of closure activity

Notes/Recommendations for next time: